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My Fujifilm X-T3 Review


Andrew L (gryphon1911)

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Andrew L (gryphon1911)

Introduction

When I made the trip to the camera store, I had no intentions of really buying anything. I was curious about looking to see if there were any used Fuji XT30 for a good price, but it was really only a curiosity.

When I arrived, they had a few used XT3 bodies at good prices.  Bringing along some unused lenses and flash gear just in case I saw something was a good idea. 
 

After trade value was taken into account, I got the XT3 for hundreds less than I could have gotten the XT30.


Let's see how well this Fuji flagship performs.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 50503218653_25fb93e22f_o.jpg
50-230mm - 1/2700, f/5.6, ISO 12800 @101mm
 

Tech Stuff

Body

Right off the bat, the camera body has a premium feel.
The body panels are solid and it has a nice weight to it. Not too heavy and not too light. It reminds me in some ways of my beloved X-Pro2 (analog like dials) and in other ways it reminds me a bit of the Nikon DSLR (feel in hand and center viewfinder).
 

Dials. If you've used Fuji before, you know they are all about the incorporation of the analog dials. ISO on the left, along with a switch to change your drive modes. on the right is your shutter speed dial and a switch to change your metering mode. All the way to the right, exposure compensation dial.
The ISO and shutter dial have a lock/unlock button to prevent accidental changes.
The exposure comp dial does not, but the tension and positive 1/3 stop clicks are sufficient to prevent it from moving on accident.
 

Shutter Release - The shutter release has a positive feel between activating the auto focus and actuating the shutter. It also has a thread for use of a cable release or to add a soft shutter release.  I do like using a soft shutter release and got some inexpensive ones from Amazon.

Rear LCD - It is very good. The colors and contrast are true to the scene. The touch actuation of the shutter release is good here. It not only articulates up and down, but also has a release to go about 45 degrees vertical for low angle shots.  With that being said, I turn off touch because my nose hits the screen and can make the AF points move about unexpectedly.

As good as the rear LCD might be, I still am not a fan of shooting with it full time. I choose to shoot in EVF + eye sensor mode.   The option is there though for those that like using the rear LCD.

Flash

The XT3 comes supplied with the Fuji EF-X8 hotshoe flash. It is a tiny thing and probably only good for fill flash at close distances. I'll never use it.  
I prefer to use off camera flash with radio triggers.  My Radio Popper setup works just fine.

Viewfinder / EVF

The EVF is really good. In normal mode, it refreshes at 60fps. In Boost mode, it refreshes at 100fps. One thing I've appreciated about the Fuji EVF is the auto rotation of the screen information when going from vertical to horizontal shooting.  In high speed shooting mode, it offers black out free experience.

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50-230mm - 1/500, f/5.6, ISO 160 @ 107mm
 

Lens Line Up

Fuji is lean on third party lens support. Although I will admit that Fuji has so many good OEM lenses that they probably don't need third party support.

Prime and zoom lenses have entry level, intermediate and pro level varieties and all priced accordingly.

I do enjoy adapting some of my legacy Nikon AI lenses using my K&F or Fotodiox adapters.

There are also a bunch of manual focus lenses with native X mount if that is of interest to you.

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50-230mm - 1/340, f/7.1, ISO 200 @ 230mm
 

Performance

While the X-T4 is out, let us not forget that this is a Fujifilm flagship camera. As of October 2020, Fuji has announced that the X-T3 will be getting a firmware update to version 4.0, which will bring the auto focus performance up to the level of the X-T4.

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16-50mm - 1/480, f/5.3, ISO 160 @ 40mm
 

Overall System Performance

System performance and speed are all top notch. I never have to wait on the camera.

The camera fires up quickly. The touch screens are very responsive. The Fuji menus are not the most intuitive, but they are not the worst I've ever used either. Once you get used to them, they get to make a lot more sense.
There is also the Q menu for accessing a lot of the options you'll use a lot and it too can be customized.

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50-230mm - 1/640, f/6.2, ISO 160 @ 162mm
 

Autofocus

**As of October 2020, Fuji has announced that the X-T3 will be getting a firmware update to version 4.0, which will bring the auto focus performance up to the level of the X-T4.

Single Point

The auto focus performance here is top notch in single point mode. Positive and sure with all lenses tested. By clicking the AF joystick, you can gain access to the various sizes and focusing modes Fuji offers. There are several small to medium single point boxes for the shooter to choose from.

I usually sit 2 sizes up from the smallest for normal, everyday shooting.

Zone

Once you get past single point, Fuji offers up the zone focusing mode. a square grid of points focus in a zone. Best suited for keeping moving subjects in focus.

Wide

Wide is basically a "let the camera determine the best AF point" mode. I generally never use this mode as I am too controlling to allow the camera to decide.

Continuous

Up until I used the Fuji X-Pro2 or X-E3, I never really trusted or relied on Fuji continuous auto focus. The X-Pro2 showed me that Fuji is capable, but not class leading. The X-T3 is not class leading either, but is now way more competent. If I'm working on a paid job or need to 100% nail the focus on a moving subject, I'm still going to look to my Nikon DSLRs for that...however, for a lot of situations, the Fuji will be more than adequate. With the upcoming AF upgrade via firmware, the X-T3 will be even more formidable in tracking subjects.  Also, to reiterate - the continuous high mode allows for a black out free EVF experience.  Something people have wanted for a long time and was only available in the higher priced Sony A9.

Manual Focus

I will use manual focus on occasion, but usually only with adapted manual focus lenses. The X-T3 has a few manual focus aids, like peaking and a digital split focus patch. I prefer the focus peaking and do find it works just fine when I slap on a manual focus Nikkor lens and have a go around with it.

It is good enough to get the job done.

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16-50mm - 1/680, f/5.6, ISO 160 @ 16mm
 

Battery Life

Power wise, it meets and exceeds the CIPA rating of 370 shots per charge.

With the introduction of mirror less cameras, I've been wanting the CIPA rating to change from number of images taken to "power on time". By this I mean that most mirror less cameras deplete the battery more so when they are powered on than the number of shots taken. For example, I've had the same mirror less camera in one outing net me 200 shot before I needed to switch the battery and then again on another I got close to 1000.

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50-230mm - 1/320, f/8, ISO 800 @ 217mm
 

Ergonomics

For me, the size of a camera is important. There is a point of diminishing returns on size. You can only go so small before the controls are hard to reach and the camera is difficult to hold.
 

Feel in The Hand

I already mentioned that the camera feels solid. I tend to go after market for a half case or bottom plate plus grip type device. I got  one of those for this camera as it is borderline too small.

It is easy to get to the buttons and the shutter falls nicely under my index finger.

Most people would not need an extra grip, and if I did not want to protect the bottom plate of the camera, I would not really need the grip either...it's just that no one really makes a bottom plate only that I really like and I am not a fan of the universal bottom plates or l-brackets on the market.

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50mm f/2 - 1/280, f/4, ISO 160
 

Image Quality - Stills

I find the Fujifilm special in their JPG processing. Out of the box the colors are pleasant, but the film simulation engine is what really makes me happy here.

I've created a few monochrome film simulation recipes on my own and I've gotten a few monochrome and color recipes from the good folk over at www.fujixweekly.com

The 26MP sensor on the Fuji is excellent and I get good color, and high ISO performance. If shooting RAW, I prefer the way that Capture One handles the X-Trans RAW files over the way Lightroom does. 
That has more to do with sharpening that the way it deals with colors.

Shutter shock

I've never really experienced shutter shock on the Fuji X cameras that I can tell. The X-T3 does have a feature of electronic front curtain for the shutter, which I turn on just to be safe.

My actual setting for the shutter is the EFCS + MS + ES, which basically lets the camera determine what to use when.

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50mm f/2 - 1/125, f/4, ISO 160
 
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50-230mm - 1/250, f/6.4, ISO 500 @ 171mm
 
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50-230mm - 1/180, f/8, ISO 400 @ 120mm
 
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50-230mm - 1/180, f/8, ISO 1600 @ 120mm
 

Image Quality - Video

Being honest, I'm still not as heavily into video as I want to be right now. From the specs alone, the Fuji X-T3 has the goods to be a competent video camera. Without IBIS, you'll want to get an OIS capable lens if you want to run hand held or invest in a capable gimbal. For that, I really like Ikan.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 50413323076_c9a36a3a0e_o.jpg
50-230mm - 1/250, f/6.4, ISO 320 @ 95mm
 

Final Thoughts

Sometimes, when you fall into a great deal on a flagship camera, you really should take the plunge. Even though the X-T3 is now considered "old technology", that tag does not mean that it is not capable. In fact, it is a very capable camera that is a pleasure to shoot.

If you can get one used for under $1000, I highly recommend it. I'm glad I had the opportunity to get this one. It has been an excellent companion for day to day shooting, even with the kit level lenses like the Fuji 16-50 XC and 50-230XC. Put on the "Fujicron" primes or better and you really have a great shooter. I love putting on the Fuji 50/2WR and the 90/2WR and running the X-T3.

If you need top notch IQ, then Fuji has the 16-55/2.8 and 50-140/2.8 lenses.  I prefer the smaller packaging of the f/2 primes and the consumer zooms.  While they are not astounding in AF speed or feel, Fuji more than makes up for that with great optical quality in their kit lenses.

 
I was able to run the Fuji X-T3 with the 50-230/4-6.3 OIS lens at the dog park after the October 2020 firmware upgrade.  While I still prefer the Nikon D500 for my sport shooting and fast action needs - the X-T3 did an admirable job.  My dog is white and very little contrast and the consumer grade lens and X-T3 AF system kept up well enough for me in this low pressure setting.
 
Here are some examples:
 
11-29-2020_pizzuro_dogpark_XT030203.thumb.jpg.5004390a9307ff0b457f3223e5b579fd.jpg
50-230 - 1/1000, f/4.3, ISO 800 @ 162mm
 
11-29-2020_pizzuro_dogpark_XT030232.thumb.jpg.656383ebc8a3e10d90e271a87042e4b9.jpg
50-230 - 1/1000, f/4.3, ISO 800 @ 172mm
 
11-29-2020_pizzuro_dogpark_XT030193.thumb.jpg.b89e8bf31b193246839416b0b845e44f.jpg
50-230 - 1/1000, f/6.7, ISO 640 @ 230mm

 

Edited by Andrew L (gryphon1911)
formatting corrections
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Introduction When I made the trip to the camera store, I had no intentions of really buying anything. I was curious about looking to see if there were any used Fuji XT30 for a good price, but

Thanks for posting this great review, Andrew. It's good to have you back.      

I’ve used the little EF-X8 flash on my X-E3 and will do a bit of fill.  Even though it is drawing power from the camera battery, it is really slow to recharge, and I might be missing something but the

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I’ve used the little EF-X8 flash on my X-E3 and will do a bit of fill.  Even though it is drawing power from the camera battery, it is really slow to recharge, and I might be missing something but there doesn’t seem to be any indication that it isn’t ready and it just lets you shoot away without it.  One other issue is you have to make sure you are in single shot mode for the flash to work.  Overall, I found it a little disappointing compared to the pop-up flashes on Nikon cameras, which seem to “just work”.

 

On the topic of batteries and power, Fuji may have been a little ahead of other brands with regard to USB charging (although it sounds like others are now catching up).  Connect any USB power supply to the cameras USB port and you are charging the battery.  If it is a USB PD rated supply, it will even power the camera while shooting.  That means you can use a widely available USB power bank as an external battery when you need a bit more power instead of a dedicated power supply (and you can keep your phone topped up off the same supply).

 

is the port on the x-t3 a USB-c or just a micro USB?

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Andrew L (gryphon1911)
6 hours ago, crowecg said:

I’ve used the little EF-X8 flash on my X-E3 and will do a bit of fill.  Even though it is drawing power from the camera battery, it is really slow to recharge, and I might be missing something but there doesn’t seem to be any indication that it isn’t ready and it just lets you shoot away without it.  One other issue is you have to make sure you are in single shot mode for the flash to work.  Overall, I found it a little disappointing compared to the pop-up flashes on Nikon cameras, which seem to “just work”.

 

On the topic of batteries and power, Fuji may have been a little ahead of other brands with regard to USB charging (although it sounds like others are now catching up).  Connect any USB power supply to the cameras USB port and you are charging the battery.  If it is a USB PD rated supply, it will even power the camera while shooting.  That means you can use a widely available USB power bank as an external battery when you need a bit more power instead of a dedicated power supply (and you can keep your phone topped up off the same supply).

 

is the port on the x-t3 a USB-c or just a micro USB?

 

It is USB-C

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16 hours ago, Andrew L (gryphon1911) said:

 

It is USB-C


That makes accessing USB PD easier.  USB-C to micro USB cables are a bit harder to find.

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My Panasonic G9 has this ability to power or charge the camera from an external USB power brick, which is fantastic. I think it's a Micro-USB port - the same kind that you see on older external hard drives. I wanted to buy this power bank that could clip onto a tripod leg, but alas it's only got a 1A output and the G9 needs 2A. 

 

USB-C ports have presented a big problem for me on my 2018 Mac Mini because of their RFI with 2.4GHz connected devices. Mine likes to drop out the trackpad randomly during the day and if I plug in the HyperDrive USB-C hub I use on my iPad Pro it will disconnect the LTE wifi signal to the computer entirely. Apparently there is no cure for this and none of the workarounds have worked for me. So a USB-C camera would probably send me over the edge... 

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Thank you for your excellent review of the Fujifilm X-T3. Many points you have highlighted can also apply to the Fujifilm X-T30 , the first model you have considered, although the smaller one doesn't have the same EVF performance. It is also obvious that the X-T3 have a better ergonomic than the X-T30 but as you have rightly mentioned the compactness of the Fujifilm X-series cameras and the presence of traditional analog control dials (added to the more electronic push buttons) have created a busy crowded space that is not perfect for handling and can provoke unwanted and unaware functionality activations. 


Thank you also for your nice pictures that are demonstrating the ability of the X-T3 to produce beautiful results.
Have a good day, danielm

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A trace of light that survive a little further than the actual moment of flash.

photodanielm.blogspot.com

Daniel M on Fliickr

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